Surprise your senses with this healthy, sugar-free, homemade ginger ale. It’s a fun, refreshing, carbonated detox water that will curb your cravings for not-so-healthy drinks.
By now, you probably know that I try to live a healthy lifestyle most of the time. That, for me, includes cutting out as much sugar as possible.
Comparing to commercial ginger ale
Even before dental school, I was never really a soda/pop drinker. (Seeing young, soda-addicted patients with a mouth full of rotted teeth is enough to scare anybody away from drinking sugar-laden sodas ever again.)
I do remember one thing, though: asking for ginger ale on airplane rides. I have no idea how that even started. Perhaps my mom had told me that the ginger would be good for motion sickness on one of my flights.
When it comes to drinking ginger ale, I have to say that I prefer the taste of natural ginger to whatever is in the commercial stuff. Something about this simple combination of ingredients is satisfying enough. You aren’t left missing the syrupy sweetness of commercial soda.
While it’s true that I am already pretty used to a sugar-free diet, I have made this for many friends by now and they all seem pleasantly surprised by how good this is without adding sugar or other sweeteners.
Why make it?
This not-so-traditional ginger ale has helped get me by when I have cravings for something sweet. I like to think of it as a “skinny” or “detox” version of a summer classic beverage. Interestingly enough, it isn’t really sweet itself, but it is refreshing and, for some reason, curbs cravings.
It is very quick to make and is super healthy. Still, it feels like an indulgence somehow. When you feel deprived, serving this super refreshing drink in a fancy glass can help you feel like you aren’t missing out on anything at all!
Using a fancy glass converts this simple, flavored water into a healthy summer mocktail.
Health benefits of ginger
Ginger is not only delicious, but it has several health benefits. It is anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant. Because of these properties, ginger can help with muscle soreness, arthritis, and even menstrual pain. It may even be helpful in the prevention of cancer.
If you aren’t feeling well, ginger is effective at calming nausea and vomiting. Ginger may also speed up the emptying of the stomach which may contribute to indigestion in some people.
This simple recipe only uses 3 ingredients: lemon juice, ginger root, and sparkling water.
It may sound bland or lacking sweetness, but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.
If you try the recipe and feel you do need something sweet, consider adding a few drops of liquid stevia to keep the sugar and carb count low. You can also add maple syrup or a simple sugar syrup, but they will add more sugars and carbs to the drink, of course.
Sparkling water is what gives this drink it’s fizz. It’s also what makes it feel indulgent even when it isn’t. Sparkling water is sometimes called soda water or seltzer water. You can buy it in stores or make it yourself. (Common brands are Perrier and San Pellegrino.)
The preparation couldn’t be much simpler either.
First, slice a lemon or lime in half. Juice it into a glass filled with ice. If you’re using a small lime, use the whole thing. If you’re using a larger lemon or lime, use only half.
Next, grate about a centimeter of ginger root into the same glass. I have a special ginger grater that helps release the liquid from the ginger. When using that, I spray the sparkling water onto the grated ginger and into the glass.
Fill the rest of the glass with sparkling water, and your healthy ginger ale is ready.
Taste it for flavor, and adjust the flavor to suit your taste, as needed. You can add a drop or two of liquid stevia to add sweetness without added sugar.
Similar healthy beverages
Another healthy soda made with carbonated water, this paleo red pop is another healthy way to cool off in the summer without added sugar.
Healthy Paleo Red Pop
Another traditional ginger beverage, the ginger switchel, provides minerals and electrolytes for those hot days when you’re working outside.
You can also add some pickled ginger to sparkling water. While it sounds weird, it’s actually quite delicious!
A more traditional ginger ale
For a more traditional (less healthy) ginger ale, you can mix together a ginger syrup, lemon juice, and sparkling water.
To make a ginger sugar syrup, simmer some minced ginger in equal parts of water and sugar for several minutes in a small saucepan. (For example, you could use 50g water and 50g sugar or one cup of each.) After simmering for several minutes, remove from the heat source.
Once cooled, strain out the ginger. You can then add the cooled ginger sugar syrup to lime juice and sparkling water to make a more traditional ginger ale.
Once you’ve made the ginger syrup, you can also ferment it to make a homemade fermented ginger beer! Ginger beer is delicious on its own or in cocktails such as the Moscow Mule or the Dark ‘n’ Stormy.
Fermented ginger beer
Homemade Ginger Ale – Sugar Free and Paleo
- 1/2 lime or lemon
- 1 cm ginger root
- 250 ml soda water Make your own!
- Slice the lime, or lemon, in half.
- Juice half of the lemon or lime into a glass. Save the other half for later, or use it for a friend. 🙂
- Grate some ginger root into the same glass.
- Fill the glass to the top with cold soda water.
- Enjoy served cold!
This post was originally published on June 8, 2017. It was rewritten and republished in June of 2020.
SO HAPPY to see this recipe and thought I would share a very similar but I juice /strain the ginger. I also put all of my fresh squeezed juices (ginger and the lime) into ice-cube freezer trays & freeze then keep cubes in ziplock containers in freezer so i have it on the ‘ready’!. Each standard cube is ~1TBS of frozen juice. When i want gingerale, i simply use 1 cube Ginger juice + 2 cubes Lime juice. I also add some honey and of course, the seltzer. it’s soooo refreshing!
THANK-YOU for sharing these and other amazing homemade products.
Tracy Ariza, DDS
I’m another TJ, by the way. 🙂 (Tracy Jo)
That is an awesome idea! I wish I had been caught up on comments and read this earlier. We just made a bunch of lime juice to freeze because our lime tree was packed. I never thought to add ginger juice to it.
I absolutely love the idea and will have to add it to my post as a great idea when I update it!
Hi, so I was just wondering if it would work using lemonade instead of lemon and water? I know lemonade has sugar in it. But I was just wondering if this would work. Also do you think the taste would be different if you boiled ginger and lemonade or ginger and water and then let it cool?
Tracy Ariza, DDS
Either of those options would work. It would just be a bit different result. I’m sure both would be delicious, though.
Lemonade changed its name and is now called ginger ale.
This has more ginger and very little lemon. Lemonade normally uses a lot of lemon and sugar and rarely uses ginger. It’s also rarely carbonated.
If I had named it lemonade, you would have likely complained about that, too.
It’s all semantics, I guess, but I’d suggest you try it. It’s delicious and needs no sugar.
I add fresh mint too from my herb garden!
Sounds wonderful! 🙂
When making homemade ginger ale, would I wash the root off, then peel it before I grate it? Using an 8 oz glass, how much ginger root do I grate?
It’s all really a matter of preference.
I buy organic ginger, and then I just rinse it. I don’t even bother peeling it. Some people may be put off by the peel, though, so, yes, you can peel it.
We normally grate a few mm of the root into the water. We don’t measure and aren’t very precise about it. You can add more or less depending on how much you like the strong flavor of ginger root. 😉
Another option for making your carbonated water is a machine like the Soda Stream. After your initial investment it only costs what you pay for the bottle of co2 which will make up to about 130 liters of seltzer water for about $45.00 depending on how high you carbonate each bottle.
Yes, thank you for your suggestion.
I had looked into the Soda Stream, but here in Spain, the cheapest I could make seltzer water using it was at around 55-60 Eurocents. I can make water in my seltzer bottle for under 50 Eurocents and it takes up less room. I think I found a decent price on the refills at one point, making the price about the same, and was considering trying it out. In the end, though, I decided against it because I like the convenience of the smaller size of the seltzer bottle, and also like the fact that it’s made out of stainless steel. The Soda Stream was made out of plastic, and I like to try to avoid plastic whenever I can.
It sounds like in your area, though, it could be cheaper to use the Soda Stream, so that is a great option. It has its own convenience in that you don’t have to keep changing out cartridges for each liter of seltzer water! 🙂
Both lime and lemon juice contain sugar.
As does ginger if you’re going to look at it that way. There is no added sugar, though.
Thank you! Wonderful! Made it with lime and seltzer.
I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed it! We still make it almost every single day, especially now that it’s starting to get warmer here again. I also prefer it with limes, especially since my lime tree is a lot more productive than my lemon tree. 🙂
I am going to try this ?
I hope you enjoy it!
We really love it.
I really appreciated your comment today as lately the video for this has been getting a lot of skepticism on YouTube. The people there are criticizing it, but are not willing to try it out.